March 22, 2010

The Battle of the Thumb

Once upon a time there was a woman who had four little girls, all born on the same day. None of the babies liked pacifiers. They used pacis briefly in the hospital, but rarely used them at home. They just weren't interested. Then one day, Mommy made a startling discovery: Three out of her four babies sucked their thumbs. (Why the fourth baby never sucked her thumb is a mystery that will likely never be solved).
Mommy appreciated the fact that her babies self-soothed. She knew they would outgrow their thumb sucking habit before their adult teeth grew in.
Eventually, Mommy took her little girls to the dentist. He complimented Mommy and Daddy on how clean and pretty their little girls' teeth were. He then warned Mommy and Daddy that their adorable little girls will all likely need braces. In fairness, the braces will be necessary because their mouths are crowded, not because they suck their thumbs. BUT.... the thumb sucking isn't helping. It is causing the shape of their mouths to change and effects how their tongue sits in their mouth and, thus, how it touches their teeth.
Mommy tried bribing her thumb suckers with special treats. They didn't care. She tried gently reminding them not to suck their thumbs. It didn't work. Her three thumb suckers would go all day without putting their thumbs in their mouths, but by the time night rolled around, the tired little girls would give up their quest to go thumb free.
One day, Mommy came home from the store with the brightest, prettiest, pinkest nail polish she could find. The deal? No thumb sucking with fingernail polish on. The thumb suckers readily agreed to go cold turkey. The fourth little girl also got to have her fingernails painted. Then bed time rolled around. Two out of the three thumb suckers had picked the polish of their "sucking thumb." The third thumb sucker dissolved in tears. "Take my fingernail polish off," she cried "or the tears will keep coming." After listening to this for awhile, Mommy caved. She removed the polish from the third thumb sucker's thumb. Just the other day, all four little girls asked to have their fingernail polish re-touched. Three of those little girls requested to leave one thumb polish free.
Thumb suckers: 1 Mommy: 0

9 comments:

LauraC said...

BOO!!!!! I do not like this story.
My mom used to put that stuff on my sister's nails so she would stop biting them and she bit them anyway! Until she was in her 30s!

MaryAnne said...

Growing up is hard to do...

Stephanie Barr said...

It's a tough topic. One sister was devoted to her thumb until nearly her teens, despite Herculean efforts otherwise.

My six year old will still such his thumb when he's really tired, but far less than he used to. My baby favors the two finger method, and I'm not currently fighting it since she has molars coming in. But it's a battle to come.

Sadia said...

The nail polish was a great idea, even if it didn't work!

I'm not certain when my sister stopped sucking her thumb; I know that when she 7, she was stick sucking, and by 17, she'd stopped. I think I caught her with her thumb in her mouth at age 14.

Roman and Tiffany said...

My cousin sucked her thumb until she was 12! Her parents could not break her of the habit. The thumb sucking caused serious damage to her palate and she is now going through extensive dental repairs to her palate along with braces.

Hopefully you will be able to break them of the habit. Ry was a binky baby and we were really worried that she would not give it up. She gave her binkies to the Binky Fairy in exchange for a big girl gift and has never looked back.

Good luck and keep trying!

Quadmama said...

The palate issue is a huge factor. Hubby had to wear one of those things that you crank at night to spread the palate and I just don't want to even think about having to do that with the girls. He claims it didn't hurt but it sounds like torture to me.

Kim said...

Oh, goodness, I can totally relate to this post. My 3 year-old twins still suck their thumbs. My older girls did, too, but they eventually stopped, so there's hope . . .

Sarah said...

This will be me soon. Keira absolutely LOVES her thumb.

Emily said...

I'm 19 now and I sucked my thumb almost until I was 11. I'm the only one out of my three siblings and I who didn't need braces. So, there may end up being no ill effect. [My dentist was adament there would be].

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